We Reach Out

I’ve written about those moments where you connect, just for a moment, with a person you don’t know. I refer to that heady phenomenon as Synchronized Strangers. I love those moments but, in truth, what makes those instances magical is the fact that we usually never see those individuals again. That moment lingers in memory alone.

What happens, however, when a 'Synchronized Strangers' moment happens online? No, I’m not talking about eHarmony or Match.com or any other dating site. I’m referring to those moments when someone stumbles across one of your blog entries and something you say, or the way you say it, grabs their attention… and they comment. And, in their response, you realize that this person understands… they “get you” and they “get it” and synchronicity takes place. The same can be said for the reverse. How many times have you been that person following a chain of comments, links on a blogger friends page, or even guided by the great Google gods… when you land on someone’s page and you read their blog or their poetry or their fiction and you are immediately drawn to that person like a moth to flame?

There is still a choice that exists. You can keep on walking… leaving nothing but an IP address behind to mark that you were once there. Perhaps you bookmark the blog and read it secretly. Me? I’m a commenter. If you touch my heart or my soul or my mind in something you have voiced… I’m apt to tell you about it. Guess what I’ve discovered in this process:

“It is quite possible for people who have never met us and who have spent only twenty minutes thinking about us to come to a better understanding of who we are than people who have known us for years.” ~Malcolm Gladwell

It’s true. I have online friends that do “get me” more than some of the people I have known my entire life. And, in some instances, that understanding has been instantaneous. I get the eye roll on a regular basis; that “yeah right” look from people who don’t understand… who will never understand. I learned long ago to ignore them. We are human and we instinctively reach out to each other. Is it weird? Is it strange? Perhaps. But, it is also very real.

“Right now, you and me here… put together entirely from Adam sitting on this round rock with a core of liquid iron held down by this force that so troubles you called gravity … all the while spinning around the sun at sixty-seven thousand miles an hour and whizzing through the Milky Way at six-hundred thousand miles an hour in a universe that very well may be chasing it’s own tale at the speed of light. And, amidst all this frantic activity, fully cognizant of our own imminent demise (which is a very pretty way of saying we all know we are going to die), we reach out to one another. Sometimes for the sake of vanity. Sometimes for reasons you are not old enough to understand yet. But, a lot of the time we just reach out … and expect nothing in return. Isn’t that strange? Isn’t that weird? Isn’t that weird enough?” ~The Martian Child, Film (2007)


  1. I love, love, love this post. I have felt this so many times on the Wonderful Web, and now I have a name for it! And I absolutely adore my Internet Friends. Some people are amazing, and you don't need to be in the same room to realize it

  2. I count among some of my dearest friends ones whom I have yet to actually meet. So much better than my old imaginary friends!

  3. This post could explain how you ended up in my rss reader at some time in the past...And why I usually take the time to read your posts no matter how pressed my day is.

    Synchronized Strangers...A concept I can wrap a thought around...And in.

  4. I am so flattered that you wrote about me. Flattered and incredibly humbled. And self-absorbed. And arrogant.

    And delusional.

    With that being said, let me quote my mom:

    "J.V.! Get off the god-damned roof!"

  5. its the ones that leave comments that make me laugh that end up being my Synchronized Strangers,thanks for giving that feeling a name!

  6. I saw that film for the first time last Sunday...how's that for synchronicity! There are so many things in life that are inexplicable -- spiritual things that we probably just don't understand. As is often the case when reading your posts, I can completely relate. It is an extraordinary thing when a person who is basically a stranger to you is able to accept and relate to you better than people who have known you your entire life (including family) who either can’t or won’t. All I know for sure, is that it definitely is a relief when you find those kindred souls—wherever you encounter them. Just knowing someone in the world does ‘get’ you, really is enough I think.

  7. Beth, just 'passin' through. 'synchonised strangers' caught my eye. Hi, howya goin'. Moving along.

  8. Isn't it interesting that we share similar backgrounds, kind of knew of each other on the other side of the Atlantic, but it took the internet to bring us to this appreciation? I am thankful that in the midst of your crazy life, you take the time to post brilliant words. I feel as though we would be great friends should we ever live in the same town. In the meantime, know that you touch my heart through this computer screen. I think you're pretty great.

  9. I absolutely get this. That's pretty much how my feed reader gets filled.


    Kristy: Welcome! Welcome! Welcome! I'm glad you like it.

    Dori: Me too! Tea someday? I should plan a visit to the old stomping ground.

    gary: A regular reader I did not know about. Awesome... and "Hi!"

    JV: You know it, luv!

    LOUDnPROUD: I love the Synchronized Strangers concept. I don't know where I got it or where the phrase materialized in my noggin, but I love it! Glad you do too.

    Lisa: Ah, g-r-e-a-t movie. So many wonderful quotables out of that one. Glad to call you friend.

    Davo: Ah, the wanderer saunter through. =) This should happen more often.

    Carrie: Can you imagine? We could talk about raising boys and books and writing and ..... WOW!

    Finn: Glad you get it. Glad we synched along the way!

    Jake: Consider yourself synched too, my dear.

  11. I love Martian Child. There's something alien in all of us. We know we're meant for greater and all of us tries in our own ways to reach for it. Glad to be reaching with ya, lady!

  12. BG: And I'm glad to be reaching with you too. And, yes, we are all a bit alien, aren't we?

  13. Jake... you disappeared man. It isn't like we weren't all warned, but DAMN IT!


"Stranger, if you passing meet me and desire to speak to me, why should you not speak to me? And why should I not speak to you?" ~Walt Whitman


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